About a couple weeks ago I caught a new music video by Sufjan Stevens uploaded on the Pitchfork Youtube channel. I thought, OOOOH NEW SUFJAN STEVENS! Is he coming out with a new album? But, actually, it was an original song from the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack. I hadn’t heard any buzz about this movie; however, the music video was intriguing enough to me that I wanted to check the movie out in theaters. Also, you could say Sufjan did some convincing as well.
OBVIOUS SPOILERS IN THIS POST. SO WATCH THE MOVIE FIRST AND LET’S TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE I LOVED THE MOVIE SO MUCH!
Elio, Elio, Elio, Elio…
The coming-of-age film is based on a novel by André Aciman, where the main character, Elio, falls for the American graduate student who was staying at their Italian villa for the summer under the tutelage of Elio’s father, a professor in Grego-Roman studies.
My quick, not-fully-developed thoughts on the film:
Northern Italy. The film was based in Northern Italy in 1983. As a wanderluster, I couldn’t help but have the urge to want to visit the town the film was set in. The scenes were shot beautifully and had this nostalgic feel, as summer vibes often give. The lakes, the villa, the roads, the fields, the openness, the quietness. Let’s go!
The statues. I didn’t pay as closely as I should have in regards to what the statues were alluding to. However, when professor was talking about how the curvature of the statues’ bodies signified a sort of ambiguity, I should have related that to the relationship between Elio and Oliver. Pay close attention to the curvature of their bodies in several of the scenes and how they mimic the statues.
Peach. OMG, I will never look at a peach the same ever again. In the movie theater, during that particular scene, some woman sounded like she was going to vomit or something. I was having a hard time restraining my laugh. GIRL, CHILL OUT, YOU MUST HAVE LIMITED IMAGINATION.
Dad. If you saw the movie, this is probably your favorite scene as well. When Elio’s dad was sitting on the sofa with Elio and started to speak from a place of wisdom, I couldn’t help but think, WOW, he is a such a great father to Elio. His monologue, which I will transcribe here, is my favorite moment of the entire movie:
In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything — what a waste!
Bravo, Dad, bravo. Give that performance an Oscar or something.
Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. This movie definitely wouldn’t be this good if it wasn’t for their superb performance. They were believable characters. You could really feel for Elio’s perspective of what he was experiencing. And, if you didn’t know beforehand that in real life these two actors are heterosexuals, you might not have thought too much of their performances. “Later!”
Universal themes of love and loss. Although this story may be a movie between the love of two men, the themes of love and loss are universal. Who hasn’t fallen in love before? Who hasn’t had their heart crushed? Who hasn’t discovered the beauty in a romance? Who hasn’t been afraid to pursue one’s own desires?
Pace. The movie runs at almost 2.5 hours, which can seem a bit long. There are certainly some slow moments in the movie and one can blame it on the need to keep it’s “indie flavor”. However, I think it really helped with soaking up the “feeling” of summer in Italy. At moments, it felt like the audience itself was living in the movie.
Another perspective. However, this movie does provide me a glimpse, as a straight man, of what it is like to live in a society in which certain emotions can be revealed in public due to societal norms and taboos. I can understand why both Elio and Oliver were so slow to act and how uncertain they were to pursue an opportunity. Once again, I think anybody could relate to being uncertain to pursuing romance, but I appreciated how this movie provided me another perspective.
The phone call. MAAAAAAAAAAAAN, I KNEW IT! I knew what dude was going to announce on the phone.
Visions of Gideon. WTF! The ended got me effed up. You had to end the movie like that with us staring at Elio. Then Sufjan Stevens started singing. You couldn’t help by feel sympathetic or empathetic towards Elio. Hey, Elio, it’s gonna be alright. That’s how it is the first time around. Is it a video? FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHH…
Suggestion. I am told that I should watch Moonlight since I have not done so yet. WILL DO! I love coming-of-age movies.
This is my attempt to start blogging about films I watch, especially during the time they are released, because I am TER-RI-BLE at remembering what happens in films.
Mystery of Love:
Visions of Gideon: